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Cherokee Marsh

June / July 2022

In this edition

Interns Becca Lennie, Lauren Stielow, Ella Tarpey, and Emily Domnick show off garlic mustard they removed from Yahara Heights Park. A fifth intern, Collin Cheney, will join the group in June.

Prairie Partner interns have begun work

On May 24, their first day with us, the Prairie Partner interns combed the woods at Yahara Heights Park in search of garlic mustard to pull. We were pleased to find fewer plants than in previous years, perhaps indicating that our work there over the years is having an effect. The interns also helped mark patches of blooming shooting star wildflowers to make it easy to spot the low-growing plants when it's time to collect their seeds. 

The interns will work with us every Tuesday through August 9 (except July 19, replaced by Thurs, July 21), alternating between Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park and Yahara Heights County Park / Cherokee Marsh Natural Resource Area. On the other days of the week, they work with other nonprofits at Pheasant Branch Conservancy, Westport Drumlin / Patrick Marsh, UW Lakeshore Preserve, and Goose Pond. 

If you happen to see the interns out in the parks, stop and say hi.

Read more about the Prairie Partner interns (June / July 2020 newsletter).

Donate to support the interns.

Red-headed woodpeckers return for 9th year

Red-headed woodpeckers, documented nesting in Cherokee Marsh since 2014, have been spotted this year in Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park's North and South Units as well as at Yahara Heights. Look for them perched on snags (standing, dead trees), where they nest in cavities.

Read about restoration efforts for red-headed woodpeckers.

Purple martins return to nest boxes

The purple martins have returned to the nest "condos" on Burning Wood Way in the Cherokee Park neighborhood. Thanks to Cindy Carlson and Mark Ewig for taking over stewardship duties for the boxes.

Cindy reports "The purple martin condos were installed on April 15 [after winter storage] and a single martin was spotted on April 23. It took some time for the rest of the group to make its appearance, possibly due to the challenging weather this spring, but all are now in residence! Eleven homes are occupied. Unfortunately, sparrows have inhabited one or two of the units despite several "cleanings" of their nesting material." 

Read more about the purple martins and their housing (from our June / July 2021 newsletter)

Madison Parks releases video celebrating conservation parks

As a part of Madison Parks' celebration of 50 years of conservation parks, staff have put together a really nice video with some history and information about Madison's conservation parks and why we value them: 

50 years of conservation parks

This is one of a number of videos on the City of Madison Parks Division's YouTube channel, including videos about using goats for prescribed grazing on park land:

City of Madison Parks Division YouTube channel

Conservation Park web pages updated

With input from the Friends of Cherokee Marsh, Madison Parks has updated its web pages for the three units of Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park and Meadow Ridge Conservation Park. Each page has a link to a trial map.

Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park - North Unit

Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park - South Unit

Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park - Mendota Unit

Meadow Ridge Conservation Park


In the news

Some recent news reports from our watershed.

"Puff piece" from the trade publication The Golf Wire about the renovation and rebranding of the Cherokee Country Club:

Madison's Cherokee Country Club to become first TPC property in the state of Wisconsin

Housing has been proposed for the site of the recently closed Nau-Ti-Gal restaurant located just north of Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park's Mendota Unit:

Potential demolition of Nau-Ti-Gal is on hold (may require logging in)

Volunteers sew 45 bags for seed collecting

Big thanks to our seed bag volunteers who sewed an awesome 45 seed bags for use by the DNR's State Natural Areas program and Groundswell Conservancy.
Welcome to our newest board member, Wendy Murkve. Wendy is a talented photographer who is helping with our newsletter, social media, and other projects. In fact, she helped put together this newsletter despite an injured hand! 
Sara Heckman and Heidi Hughes contacted us about volunteering to plant the new median at Wheeler Road and Comanche Way with native pollinator plants as part of the City of Madison Engineering Division's Adopt-a-Median program. The first task is to remove the planted grass. Watch for the plants this summer! Thank you, Sara and Heidi!

Upcoming events

Unless otherwise indicated, events are free with no registration required.  

Sign up to receive notices about upcoming events and volunteer opportunities including announcements for last-minute events and volunteer opportunities that don't make it into the newsletter.

See the full calendar for latest information.

Bird and nature adventures

Sunday, June 5, 1:30 pm – 3 pm, Wildflower wander with naturalist guide Mary Binkley. 

Sunday, July 3, 1:30 pm – 3 pmFrog and bug hop with naturalist guide Mary Binkley. 


first Sunday of EVERY month, year-round, ALWAYS 1:30 pm – 3 pm

Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park - North Unit, 6098 N Sherman Ave. Follow N. Sherman Ave. north to the parking area at the end of the gravel road.

Contact: Paul Noeldner,, 608-698-0104

Madison Parks bird and nature adventure page

Accessible summer birding

Saturday, July 16, 9 am – 11 am

Sponsored by Madison Audubon, Access Ability Wisconsin, and Friends of Cherokee Marsh. Registration required.

More information and register  (check back later if not on calendar yet)

Night moth walk

Friday, July 29, 9 pm – 10:30 pm

Join naturalist Jeff Steele on this night walk to see and learn about moths and other night-flying insects. We'll walk to different viewing spots to view insects under ultraviolet light. Be prepared for mosquitoes. A flashlight may be helpful for walking. Sponsored by the Friends of Cherokee Marsh and Madison Parks. Rain date July 30.
Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park - North Unit, 6098 N Sherman Ave. Follow N. Sherman Ave. north to the parking area at the end of the gravel road.


Master Naturalist training

Saturdays, July 16 – Aug 20

Sign up for Master Naturalist training based at Warner Park with field trips to Cherokee Marsh and other nearby areas.  

Registration deadline is July 6, but don't delay as the class may fill. $275 fee. Scholarships available.

More information and register

Garlic mustard pulling

To be informed of garlic mustard pulling and other volunteer events, be sure you are signed up to receive event notices.  

Sign up to receive event notices.

Information and suggested locations for pulling garlic mustard on your own


Board meetings

Wed, June 15, 5:30–7 pm
Wed, July 20, 5:30–7 pm

Our board of directors is responsible for planning, coordinating, communicating, and managing our activities. Everyone is welcome to attend board meetings. We've resumed in-person meetings in the Warner Park Community Recreation Center or outdoors at the Warner Park rainbow shelter. Contact to confirm location.

Save the dates

Aug 6, Beginning birders
Aug 7, Birding by boat

Self-guided nature adventures

Get ideas for your own self-guided nature adventures at Cherokee Marsh and other locations.
Copyright © 2022 Friends of Cherokee Marsh, All rights reserved.

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